Statement by Thomas C. Kiernan, NPCA president about President Bush's Park Visit Looks Good, Achieves Nothing

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   August 15, 2003
Contact:   Kate Himot, NPCA, 202-454-3311
Courtney Cuff, Pacific Region, NPCA, 510-368-0115


Statement by Thomas C. Kiernan, NPCA president about President Bush's Park Visit Looks Good, Achieves Nothing

- It's a shame the president's national park visit today to Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is little more than a photo opportunity, offering spin over substance, instead of real progress for our national parks. Although the president pledged to eliminate the maintenance and resource-protection backlog of the national parks, the administration has supplied little new funding, mostly shuffling existing park dollars already stretched too thin. As a result, Department of Interior estimates show that although several projects have been completed, the overall backlog remains essentially unchanged. Yet the president and the administration still claim to be on track to meet the backlog pledge. Visiting any park or talking with any Park Service ranger will yield a different conclusion.

The administration also has abandoned the president's pledge to 'restore and renew' our national parks. Instead, it has instituted a variety of damaging policies, including weakening clean air protections, which contributed to the D-minus the administration earned in an NPCA assessment released in June. In addition, the administration is exploiting a loophole in a repealed Civil War era law that could pave roads and highways over old cow paths and hiking trails in our parks to benefit corporate interests. And the administration's aggressive plan to privatize National Park Service jobs compelled even the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives to join the many editorial boards, tourism and recreation groups, and private citizens expressing concern that the administration's policies and actions regarding our national parks continue to imperil America's heritage.

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